We’re in the middle of a pandemic. A health and economic crisis that will have lasting negative effects for many, many years to come. You’re likely feeing some anxiety. We all are. We’re concerned about the health of our friends and loved ones and, of course, many are seeing their finances greatly impacted due to lack of work, whether because of illness, the need to be home with young children or layoffs by businesses.
As we’ve stated numerous times, one thing remains true. We’re all in this together. Every business, organization, lender and individual. Everyone has been affected. So many are coming together to ease the financial burden caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re concerned about your finances during this uncertain time, here are a few ways you can ease some of your concerns and create a positive recovery plan for the future.
When is the last time you took some time to evaluate your financial situation? For most of us, payments are set to automatically be drafted from month to month and our bills run on auto pilot. Now is a great time to sit down, organize bills and paperwork and really be honest with the financial situation. It can be frightening to face something difficult, but now more than ever, it’s important to remain in control. Understand your situation. Evaluate what’s coming in and what needs to go out and then create a plan of action.
Putting that plan into action is incredibly daunting and time-consuming. It involves numerous phone calls and open and honest conversations with mortgage lenders, financial institutions, electric companies, student loan servicers and others. Don’t be afraid to ask. Many of these businesses have options in place, whether it’s skipping one month’s payment, applying for a forbearance, eliminating late fees, preventing foreclosures or postponing payments for a short time frame with no negative repercussions. Make the calls, check out the websites, do your homework and be encouraged by the generosity that has come to light.
There are now options for those who have been fully laid off or have seen a significant loss of income due to coronavirus. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) has allowed direct payments to go out to those whose income has been affected, including a stimulus package and unemployment compensation for those who may not have otherwise been eligible, such as those who are self-employed. It also makes special provisions, like an extended eligibility time frame. If you haven’t explored your options, we encourage you to see what’s happening in your state.